A Morning Walk

Her heels echo as each sandal hits the pavement like the hooves of a horse. As we begin our five minute morning walk my Mother is leading me to the A train as I trail behind her. She wakes up everyday at 6:30 AM, to take the train not by our nearest train station but in Howard Beach.

I always wonder how does she wake up so faithfully every morning and manage to look so good. Her outfits are perfectly coordinated with matching skirts and blouses, her heels always striking so powerfully against the concrete.

I am twenty years old shouldn’t I have way more energy than her?

Thing is, I don’t.

My flats, my braided hair, my plain jane face with no make-up. A book in hand, a bag on the side, and my eyes desperate to stay open as we walk.

The surrounding homes feature quaint little bay windows and American flags perched up on the right side of each house. The sidewalk is impeccably clean–garbage cans of freshly cut grass saddle the driveway. But noticing a dark brown and green spot of what looks like a crumpled leaf–it mars the ivory concrete.

How could one single leaf remain on the sidewalk? I pass by closer and peer over–a dark greasy feather, a scrunched beak, a ruffled wing. A sad little creature remaining on the sidewalk. I will never know how she died but I loom over her in a moment of lament.

There is a clattering sound of more heels hitting the pavement. I see two other women at opposite ends of the sidewalk headed in our direction. Her work outfit is navy, swanky, and tight. She walks in careful strides as her heels are a strappy leather construction. The other woman speeds up as she sees us approaching, her short golden blonde Mom hairdo shimmies as she races to the finish line.

Mom hairdo is in such a rush but not the kind of rush that you know that person needs to actually rush. She just seems like one of those people who rushes for no reason, whose face permanently looks like she needs to race against something. Navy, swanky, tight just looks completely self-indulgent. It’s not just her outfit though. She just walks so damn carefully it makes me annoyed. Like every inch of her waist needs to fall in the right direction as she walks.

We all meet at the elevators waiting in an awful moment of concentration–the elevators will not come down no matter how much we take turns pressing the button.

My Mom takes the lead and presses the button twice as if the first press didn’t register. Mom hairdo grows impatient as she gives her hair one last shimmy. Glancing up at the top of the glass-paneled elevator she rushes over, darts up towards the platform, and scurries up the stairs. We continue to wait and in a second more the elevator comes and the rest of us cram into the glass elevator as I press the second button for UP.

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How Singing Brought Me Closer to God

A dozen of family and friends gather around–some elderly women on the couch and other mothers, uncles, and children scattered around the bright lighted living room. A collective group of voices sing Hindu chants and devotional songs.

My voice is not good, while I love to talk–singing has never been one of my talents. Sometimes I can carry a tune but belting out a chant in Hindi or singing the rhythms of a demanding bhajan can be nerve-racking for me. Though now I find myself singing, clinging on to the Hindi words praising lord Krishna. It is the way I feel closest to my Grandma and the way I am helping her soul.

In the past I dreaded singing. I felt I had no understanding much less a connection to the music. It was embarrassing for me as a child being forced to sing at mandir or Hindu temples revealing how little I knew about the Hindi language I did not speak.

Since my Grandma passed away I find myself singing in the company of my family members and friends and reading the meanings of songs during wakes.

But even before the days leading up to my Grandmother’s last rites Hindu ceremony or “shraadh”, I found myself singing and praying with immediate family by the bedside of my ailing Grandma. It was the only way I felt I could soothe her pain when words like “Hang in there Gram” proved no longer effective.

As Rabindranath Tagore once wrote in his collection of poems titled Gitanjali, “When grace is lost from life come with a burst of song.” I think that best describes how I felt when singing to my Grandma during her last few days of life.

For me singing bhajans or Hindu songs during my Grandma’s wakes allowed me to forget about the daily stressors of life, leave it all behind, and concentrate on my Grandma and her passing hopefully into a path of liberation as Hindus would say. But so many, including myself, have taken this power of singing for granted until death crosses your path.

Hindu Goddess of Knowledge and Music Saraswati

I argue that if you do believe in a higher being, singing is a way to feel one step closer to that being. It is a personal step one makes to sing with devotion, but when done with no intentions besides reaching a peaceful state God feels much closer to you.

But the very act requires one to submit themselves to be heard–the end result could be glorious and aunties and uncles can be asking you to “sing wan more” or the surrounding audience can be wishing to lower down that mike. It is amazing how so many Indo-Caribbean Hindus are drawn to singing as a method of reaching God but also equally amazing how it took me so long to realize you don’t have to be good to sing.

Many Guyanese and Trinidadian Hindus who emigrated from their home countries to this city do not speak Hindi but they carry their culture and religion through music and song. You can imagine the three worlds Hinduism has managed to pass through: from India, to the West Indies, and then to New York City where West Indian immigrants have created a new life, built a thriving Hindu community of temples, and bring their children to experience the religion and culture.

Throughout Queens songbooks are passed around in places of worship and first-generation youth are trained in music schools all over the city to play the harmonium, sitar, dholak, tabla, and sing bhajans in Hindi–though most of these youth do not speak the language too.

There is something universal about the idea of spreading religion through songs when you do not even speak the language you are singing–you feel the divinity behind the words and that is good enough a reason to sing.

My Grandma was a spiritual woman who found joy and excitement in hearing the latest Prakash Gossai bhajans. Singing to her was a way to connect to the Lord and share in the praise of gods and goddesses through song. She could not converse in Hindi either but she represented the many elderly women who know this power–to sing in temples, during pujas or Hindu ceremonies, and among family and friends despite how good of a singer you may be or whether you completely understand the language.

I have walked into pujas and ceremonies where one may be rendering a song that may not exactly pleasing to the ear and members of the audience are secretly wondering when is this song going to end. I know this because those thoughts have entered my mind too. But many of us have not realized that singing brings a certain power or closeness to God for those in need of it.

When you do–like I did this past week–you will understand that singing is not just music but a movement that has transgressed time, place, and language to establish a unique relationship with yourself and a much more powerful force.

Our Female Sages

Her eyes looked upon me so kindly beneath her wrinkled, soft skin. Her glasses shimmered with wisdom while her smile penetrated my soul. It was just another visit with Grandma and I was feeling like my time spent with her was invaluable. 

This picture and article was originally published in The West Indian last year on the day my Grandma passed away August 6th. She must have been working in mysterious ways. The caption was “My Grandma, Narinamah Julain Pardesi. 75 Years and Going Strong.” Now she will be living strong in our hearts forever.

There is something mystical about the old. Those who have wisdom through their years always amaze me. Like my Grandma, so many elders have wisdom through the rare ability of telling the truth. Having lived for so long and witnessing so much of life, the truth comes easier off the tongues of those with age. I learned about the wonders of old people since I was a child when I was about four years old.
We were on our way to Florida on an American Airlines flight. I was happy to have the company of my dentist Barbie along with my Mother, Father, and older sister. I was four and it was a great age to be. I was able to wander around and get away with it, I could play with all of the airline stuff and still be cute, and I was able to charm the passengers in conversation. My Mother was always concerned with my habit of wandering off and speaking to strangers, but I still did it anyway. And that flight was no excuse.
I began to strike up a conversation with an elderly passenger with blonde hair. From what I remember her hair was long like mine and was in a braid. It was such a wonderful similarity and the old woman found me to be very intriguing. I can’t remember what we spoke about that day, but all I remember is that we spoke for a while. My Mom found me speaking to her and was so relieved yet also so surprised to see I had so much in common with the elderly woman. That was the first notable time that I exhibited the curiosity for wisdom from elderly women.
When I was about five years old, my bike was my main mode of transportation. I would dress up in my fanciest jumpsuits to have a chat with my favorite two old grandmas on the corner of my block. Each day I would bike my way to the corner and talk to my old friends. They were both exact opposites of each other, but they lived together and had the strongest friendship I had ever seen. It was like Rose and Dorothy from the popular television show Golden Girls. One of the women was a smoker and the tougher out of the two. The other older woman was very kind and I remember her love for holidays as she put out a different flag for each season and celebration. I thought when I was older; I wanted my house to be just like theirs.
Each day I would take a trip to hear their lively conversations. They always helped me and gave me advice whether it was when I talked about my family or the little boy on the block who gave me flowers unnecessarily. They were always there for me, until the day that the tougher women passed away. I was so sad and couldn’t understand why she went away. After that, the other kind old lady didn’t come out on the porch very often and she eventually sold the house on the block. I couldn’t bike there anymore, but I remember her telling me goodbye. I knew that she really would miss me and I would miss her too.
There is something to say about relationships with the elderly. Although death comes without warning, curiosity for life never ends. Throughout my life, I’ve explored conversations with elderly women and have found that they are our modern day female sages. I’ve encountered so many old wise women that often hold the key to life’s simplest mysteries. I remember each time I visit a close friend; I always take the time to chat with her “Aaji” or Grandmother.  Although she doesn’t always remember what grade I’m in, she tells me “Just take you education and do your best. God will bless you if you try.” And sometimes it’s just as simple as that. It was advice from someone who has lived through many decades and has seen it all through a female perspective from Guyana, to here, to now.
Perhaps my interest in the elderly is because of the fact that I spent a significant amount of time with one of the wisest old women of my time, my Grandma. Her influence has pushed me to find out more about the older women in our community who are so strong, hold so dearly to cultural and religious values, and are often such amazing mothers who defy all odds to have the best for their family. My Grandma always tells me to study hard, she encourages me to reach my fullest potential, and she always listens to my long, circular stories whether they are interesting or not. My Grandma is a progressive, and despite her age, her wisdom increases with relevance to our times. Sometimes the simplest words are the most applicable to life. Her advice is so familiar, yet so relevant and that’s what makes her a modern day female sage.
I’ve always discovered the sincerest advice from elderly women whom I feel a close connection with. Some would call me an old soul, but I like to think of it as just doing the smarter thing.  It’s wiser to get advice from those who’ve lived. Sometimes by taking the time to hear the elderly you could gain a different perspective on life. To me these elderly women are our modern day female sages, and this article is a tribute to the strong old women that lived.

Sex and the City Identity Crisis! On Looking Past the Label.

As a sheltered teenage girl, I found myself watching midnight reruns on TBS. I was living vicariously through Sex and the City and developed my own American dream to be single, stylish, and free of my family’s traditional expectations. The characters in Sex and the City gave me a kind of hopeful, satisfaction that someday I’d be able to live the glamorous, single girl life in NYC that was so evident in each episode.

Each character, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha, represented four modern women in every sense. And each episode unfolds the funny, squeamish, sad, and very “real” tales of the single woman in a jaded city of uncertainties, awkward moments, and random meetings. You might get caught up in Charlotte’s web of expectations and relationship rules, contemplate Samantha’s trysexuality (she’ll try anything once), challenge Miranda’s obstinance against male dominance, or even declare an honest affirmation that Mr. Big is indeed Carrie’s true soulmate.

My four high school girlfriends also watched the show and began a fixation on choosing which characters they were most like. I as Charlotte, Anne as Carrie, Valerie as Miranda, Neela being unidentified, and Stephanie as the obvious Samantha. We tried to re-enact Sex and the City discussions through bashfully, blunt cafeteria conversations.

Our daily lunchtime banter consisted of embarrassing Facebook dating mishaps, curious 16 year old questions about relationships, and my own rules and regulations for developing the right relationship. My friend Anne challenged our theories and stories with her own unreal expectations of men as she glossed over magazines of tennis star Roger Federer in full oiled glory. Stephanie divulged into every single juicy detail as she funneled through a series of high school boyfriends with too many names I cannot remember. I myself, created limits for my love life as I followed my immigrant parents’ warnings against not having a boyfriend.

We felt a lot more comfortable engaging in conversations that became our very own Sex and the City round-table discussions over lunch. We held the same comfort and irresistible clarity that only a few close friends could share. But we debated the expectations of being held into a particular mold of a character. We contemplated the role of each character to our lives at the current moment.

It was only after my older sister and I started arguing about which character we really were that I realized how different I thought I was from the “Park Avenue Princess” Charlotte. We watched the episode when Charlotte started obsessing over a color scheme and my sister looked at me in certainty and said, “That’s you.”

I disagreed with her thinking “I changed, I grew! I’m more of a Carrie not Charlotte.” I told her she was like the stubborn Miranda because of her lawyer habits and disagreement with male superiority. I told my sister she was not Carrie, the character she believed to be.

We went to the World Wide Web to settle the score. We began googling Sex and the City character quizzes and sure enough we found a handful of results. But the ultimate authority had to be Cosmopolitan’s online quiz. We took the quiz side by side and as I anticipated my result, my sister received:

50% Carrie and 50% Miranda

 A few minutes later I received my character:

100% Charlotte

 I was in disbelief. I thought after taking about 15 questions my score would definitely reflect my changed personality. But there it was. My character… Charlotte right next to quizzes like “Secret things that turn him on” and “Are you obsessed with your ex?”

Two weeks later, I was still sure that my quiz result was wrong. The feeling of having an incorrect personality burned me. I decided to take the quiz again. And to my definite surprise I got sexy Samantha.

Who was I? I was suffering from a bout of character depression that led me to the realization that these characters are extreme versions of an altered reality…made for television. For millions of women to identify with. Yet these same women cannot come to a consensus about which character they are, so they must rely on a quiz result.

A friend’s boyfriend exclaimed his annoyance with women and their tendency to label themselves as Sex and the City characters. He said, “These characters aren’t real.” But part of me disagreed. They were made so women could laugh, cry, hope, and live their very real love life mishaps through the experiences each character faces.

Perhaps the success of so many female centered television shows is due to the connection developed between real women and female characters. Identification has become a way for women to connect with characters in pop culture. Even in childhood we identify ourselves with labels to make things easier within our social groups. You can be the leader, you can be the athletic one, you can be the girly-girl, and you can be the quiet one. Popular television and entertainment has made it easier for us to identify with characters inherently giving specific roles to each individual. Sometimes that may cause all the trouble. What is important to remember, as the popular SATC character Carrie says,

We need to learn to look past the label…to the person. And learn to write our own rules.

Which Spice Girl Are You? I was Scary because I was the darkest in my class.

She twirled her pigtails in a spiral motion around her tiny fingers while summoning us to circle around her. We all anxiously awaited her proposition. She was after all the leader of our pack which we called: “The Wolves and Bloodhounds.” We were a bunch of girls on a mission to chase the boys despite their dangerous “cooties.” She examined each of our faces amidst the buzzing playground. We knew we were in for a serious statement. She took out the red lollipop from her mouth and began to announce in a commanding tone,

“Okay. So you will be Sporty Spice, you will be Posh Spice, you will be Baby Spice, you will be Scary Spice, and I will be Ginger Spice.”

 It was a declaration that meant I’d be spending the rest of the first grade as Scary Spice. I was disappointed beyond belief. Scary Spice was not my favorite member of the Spice Girls. She was totally not me. I was nice and she was…well…scary. In my first grade class the only defining Spice Girl characteristic was skin color. I was the darkest girl in the first grade. Therefore I must be Scary Spice. But I was beginning to think the “What Spice Girl Am I?” questions dug deeper than matters of skin color.

I realized I was not the only one who found identification to be important. Even in childhood we give ourselves labels to make things easier within our social groups. You can be the leader, you can be the athletic one, you can be the girly-girl, and you can be the “scary” one. Identification has become a way for both girls and women to connect with characters in pop culture.

I was a house stricken, domesticated little creature born from Indo-Guyanese parents who made sure I was spending most of my time studying. My parents always warned me about how dangerous it could be outside but not how harmful it could be inside. Pop culture, the television, and music became my outlets for adventure. I grew up trying to define which blonde-pop icon could be me. But I really had no one to judge from. I had black hair and uncharacteristic brown skin.

It was so important to me to find a girl that I could identify with in pop culture whether it was on a television show or in a music video. As I grew a little older my skin color began to play a bigger part in the way I identified myself. I never felt like any particular character belonged to me quite like some of the other white girls I grew up with. They all would rightfully claim, “I look like Britney Spears.” or “I’m going to grow up to be just like Hilary Duff.” I had no one to represent me. No one to identify with. For every brown Jasmine I had from the Disney film Aladdin, there were always twenty more new “blonde-haired” pop culture icons to compete with. I was an Indo-Guyanese without even an ethnicity box to check. And I grew up without a pop culture icon to reassure me that I could be seen as normal too.

Trinidadian Nicki Minaj inspired by Barbie’s Blonde Hair.

My frustration grew into desperation one day when I decided to ask my Mom for a Barbie doll from our native country Guyana. Guyana is a developing nation in South America. It was formerly a British imperial colony and now holds a majority of Indian and African descendants among a pot luck of other races. My ancestors were of Indian descent and I was on a mission to find an Indian Barbie who looked like me. It was hard to choose from the Barbie selections in America because my choices were often limited to the glittering blonde hair and blue-eyed Barbie and the African-American Barbie. A lot of African girls complained their Barbies were uglier than the white ones. But my Barbie wasn’t even there. I felt like my choices shouldn’t be black or white. And I figured that it would be easier finding a Barbie that looked like me in my parent’s homeland.

So when my Mom came back from her trip to Guyana, she announced “I have a Barbie for you!” I was so excited. My eyes gleamed as my Mom stretched into her bag and handed me a Barbie dressed in a regal Indian sari, bangles, and low and behold creamy white skin with artificially straight burgundy brown hair. I looked at my Mom trying to mask my confusion and disappointment with gratitude and sheer joy. Honestly, I was just happy to have a Barbie at the time. But now when I look back, she was a white doll wearing Indian clothes. The mismatched identity of the Barbie’s Indian clothing and Caucasian features striked me as odd but I shrugged it off. I didn’t understand the meaning at the time. Was it the last remnants of white oppressive imperialism “Everyone should desire to be white.” or was the Barbie Mattel Company facing the mark of a white dominated globalization? All I knew at the time was, “This will have to do. At least she’s wearing Indian clothes.”

Later on in my life after years of self-exploration, I couldn’t help but ask the age-old question: “Who am I?” It took some growing to realize that the toys, icons, and characters I once held as such fond childhood memories, were just extreme versions of an altered reality. For millions of women to identify with. Except me.

For many of the forgotten races, the in-betweens who are either bi-racial, have multiple ethnicities and cultures, and those who aren’t just simply black or white this concept of identification may cause all the trouble. As a child, I didn’t understand why I was being left out of pop culture. But the fact that many girls feel like they aren’t represented goes to show how artificial and unreal the world of pop culture is.

Who said we need to identify ourselves with something as artificial as a plastic Barbie, a member of a girl-band, or a character from pop culture? Sure it would be nice to fight against the odds of white superiority and the suffocating “Are you black or are you white concept?” And in the future it would be nice to clean-up the hyper-reality of pop culture. But for now, to all of those little girls looking for an icon, toy, or character to identify with … this process can be a miserable, depressing, and lonely existence. I can testify to it. I sought someone to identify with and was left in the dust of pop-culture’s artificial void for nineteen years.

A Time to Give During A Time of Hardship

Once upon the day before Thanksgiving: My head rests against the wood panel adjoining the train seat. I’m so tired. My sleepy eyes flutter open and close, open and close. And in comes a man I’ve seen before in trains. I couldn’t remember his story, the one that so many individuals pitch to train passengers for donations. Sometimes no matter how good a story may be, money doesn’t flow into cans, hats, or guitar cases. Needless to say, I wasn’t interested in hearing his story nor was I in the mood to give any money.

Today the man was wearing black dress pants, a tie, and an ID card with his photo and some words indicating what I presume to be his occupation. As he paced down the train car his smelly odor penetrated the air, a mix of sweat and old clothes. He placed his black duffel bag stuffed with Doritos chips and snacks on the ground. Then projecting his voice throughout the entire car, the man began to start a one-sided conversation with the passengers. He inquired, “Folks if you can please donate a dollar, or even 25 cents to our mission. There are people today that cannot afford a Thanksgiving meal. As you all travel to be with your families please remember some people cannot be with their families. We wanna help those in our community who cannot afford a Thanksgiving meal.” He was accompanied by another young man dressed more casually. This man shook the money can which returned an all too familiar sound of coins jingling inside a train of passive, pensive passengers.

The man circled around the train with no hope of a single coin or dollar. It was already decided the minute he entered the train, as eyes evaluated, judgments were made, and people settled into a less than generous mood. There would be no donations today.

As the man waited for the next train stop to begin his pitch all over again, his glum face caught my attention. He stared straight through the opposite train doors without taking a second look at the faces of those he hoped would help him just a few seconds ago. Two brochures fell out of his pocket. I wasn’t quite sure what they said (I transferred at the following stop). But I was surprised he never picked them up. Perhaps I had caught the man in a moment where he lost all hope for his mission. Or maybe his story was all a lie and the brochures on the ground was evidence to prove it.

The man walked out of the train and the only thing that remained was my questions. I wondered if I had made the right decision in not offering any money to the man. I contemplated if his story was true. I mean, could it be true? Or maybe I was just a victim of pre-Thanksgiving guilt. I was obligated to participate in random acts of kindness because it was the day before Thanksgiving.

But there was one thing for sure. I had a motivation to actually help. It was the kind of inspiration that you could only get from the innermost part of your heart that wills you to do good works. Later that Thanksgiving Day, I turned on my remote to NY1 news. About 700 volunteers served up home-cooked meals at the Bowery Mission, an organization helping the homeless and at-risk, underserved youth, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Vivian Lee, a NY1 reporter and volunteer stated, “Given what’s been happening in the economy of the last few years, being part of the news and seeing the front lines of that, actually, how many different realities and traunches of society have been affected by this, it just makes me feel like we all have a part to help out those that are less fortunate.”

Today the homeless and the hungry can be seen and often easily overlooked. A man sifting through a garbage can and a woman nursing her baby while sitting on the Subway ground can be just a tiny part of our quick New York minute. We spend a lot of our energy commuting, working, learning, and trying to survive in this concrete jungle. However, there are more important things which are part and parcel of the meaning to be thankful. Feeding and helping those in need have become ways to discover the true value of the holiday season so that a dinner with your family becomes all the more special. And when you take the time to help, goodness will come back to you in some forms evident and others in disguise.

Good Vs. Evil: A Battle For The A Train

It is afternoon time at one of the most congested Subway Stations in NYC. Fulton Street. Transfers to the J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5, C, and A trains.

The large army of Manhattan bound people move in a fast pace. It seems like their destination is the only thing on their minds. Following the swift, precise motions of the crowd, I make my way down three levels of stairs towards the train. Finally my last transfer. It feels like I’m almost home.

As I meet the last stairwell a loud “Whooshhh” noise echoes behind me. There it is, the star, the A train gleaming in rusty silver. The crowd rushes down the last flight of stairs. A few people look on dejectedly as they have surrendered the fight to reach the train. I launch off the stairs and begin a full sprint to the train’s nearest door along with a few others close behind me.

Victory! I made it! I am the first person waiting in front of the nearest door with a bunch of people behind me ready to take my place.

I watch relieved and happy as the doors open for my entrance. A large crowd of passengers empty out of the train car. As I wait, I start to feel a strong force on my back. A few people shove me forward and walk in the spaces passengers have left while exiting out.

A good versus evil face-off between The Lion King’s honorable king Mufasa (right) and the vicious Scar (left).

It seems like patiently waiting for passengers to exit is not the easiest way to handle getting on a packed train. But I chose not to force through the crowd of exiting passengers like everyone else.

As the final set of passengers empty out of the car a woman, about thirty years old, rolls a hefty navy blue stroller, and tugs her daughter, about four years old, behind her. I loom over in front of the door realizing more than ever that I deserve a spot on this train.

The woman loudly babbles in Spanish as I step onto the train. She pushes forth with her stroller. I now realize I am standing in front of her daughter who is stuck in the train congested with new passengers.

Without a moment’s hesitation she yells, “How dare you step in front of ma daughta…How would you like it if I blocked you! You people are so obnoxious!”

It takes me a few seconds to become conscious that those words are for me. The blood rushes to the tip of my ears and my heart feels like it is about to jump out so she can step on it. I feel so horrible. Like an insensitive, obnoxious New Yorker that has no regard for children or their mothers.

The woman continues to call me names I cannot recall. She stays between the doors so she can amply shame me in front of the entire subway station. In a tiny split second, I was finally able to step into the train but right then an African-American man, about 6 feet tall, wearing long dreads and a black quilted bubble jacket, walks straight in front of me.

I thought he was just late in heading out of the train, but then I realize he is aiming in my direction.

I can’t get on the train. His body is pushing me back. My face is trapped in his black jacket. My eyes are buried in complete darkness. He grabs my shoulders and pushes me saying, “This is how it feels to be pushed Bitch.” The woman looks at me one last time and says, “Now she knows how it feels.” Less than a minute later, the woman rushes out of the departing train.

I finally enter the train. No one defends me. No one says a word. The doors close and I am on my way home.

Part of becoming a New Yorker means developing a consciousness about when is the right time to be pushy. There are a different set of rules in the concrete jungle. The law of the subway seems to be waiting to enter the train once all passengers have exited out. However in congested times, force seems to be the method in use by the majority. I patiently waited. And human nature lashed out on me.

So majority does rule.

But does that mean we should push everyone just because we all want to go home?

Yes and No. In this situation, the individual conscience is off. There are only two trains of thought.The passengers thinking “I need to get off. Now.” And the passengers boarding thinking, “I need to get on. Now.” And only one monster can win. Any individual caught acting out will be punished. Perhaps that was me.